SCIENTOLOGY'S SPACE MAN: As of 2013, active Scientologists fewer than 20,000 worldwide - 2016-02-13
Yesterday, we began telling you about Paul Burkhart, the newest defector from Scientology's international management to go public with what he experienced after joining the church in 1980, joining the Sea Org in 1985, and then leaving a little over two years ago, in August 2013.
For ten of those years, from 1999 to 2009, Burkhart worked at Scientology's secretive International Base near Hemet, California. His job was to make space plans for the renovations that were constantly going on at Scientology facilities around the world. That put him at the center of what Scientology leader David Miscavige was doing, but at the same time gave him a measure of protection from the increasingly contentious atmosphere at Int Base. As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder put it, Burkhart was both in the "center of the shitstorm" at the same time that he inhabited "his own bubble."
Burkhart was so insulated, for example, he didn't really know who Mark "Marty" Rathbun was, even though Rathbun, as Inspector General of Ethics for the Religious Technology Center, was essentially the second-highest ranking member of the church and Miscavige's right hand man and chief enforcer.